Saturday, July 28, 2012

Cee Cee James -- "Blood Red Blues"

Cee Cee James is a wonderful singer and songwriter, and "Blood Red Blues" is a terrific release. For those not familiar with Cee Cee, she comes from the great state of Washington, with a stopover in Nashville for a year, and now she lives in St Louis, Missouri. She has released three previous records--her first, "Spiritually Wet" in 1999, was a pop/funk disc, then came two blues releases: "Low Down Where The Snakes Crawl," (2008) and "Seriously Raw: Live at Sunbanks" (2010). Both the blues discs are quite good, but I only call your attention to these earlier releases to say that "Blood Red Blues" is the best thing she has done so far.

Check out the band on this: Cee Cee on vocals, Chris Leighton on drums, Dan Moeller on bass, Rob 'Slideboy' Andrews on rhythm and slide guitar, Rocky Athas on lead guitar, Susan Julian on keyboards. Jim Gaines produced, engineered and mixed everything, so you know the band is absolutely killer--they support Cee Cee solidly in the pocket--and her singing is outstanding throughout. Cee Cee wrote all the songs with Rob 'Slideboy' Andrews, and they did all the arrangements. It may sound like she has suddenly burst forth from seemingly nowhere, but this cd has been growing and in development for over 20 years. The life-journey has not always been smooth, but it has been worth it. Everything here is, as it says on the website, "deeply rich in human emotions expressed in lyrical and melodic vulnerability." That's true, but it doesn't really get to the heart of the matter. I will say that Cee Cee and her band tell the story, in twelve songs, of a real woman's life--stories of real happiness, real despair, real pain and pleasure and joy and sorrow.

"Blood Red Blues" is in my personal top 2 or 3 releases of 2012 so far. If you are a woman, or if you love a woman, then you need to listen to this music. Listen close. You can buy this cd and all of Cee Cee's music at her website: but even better than that, buy this cd and then go see her LIVE! That is when she really shines, when she sings these stories with passion and sweat and a lot of love.

You will thank me.

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